Counting seams from 100 yards away… HOGWASH!

Baseball announcers
BobLee
July10/ 2017

Counting seams on a baseball from 100 yards away…

BLB Logo

“HOGWASH… They can’t…” That is the answer I always get when I ask “knowledgeable baseball people” how baseball announcers can call a pitch – every pitch – from a press box “a football field” away from Home Plate.

“A football field away” is 100 yards for those of you with degrees in “jock academics”.

There are 108 stitches on a baseball. Ted Williams and George Brett among baseballothers were reputed to be able to “count them” as they came at them at 90 mph from 60’6” away. I believe they could “see them” but not count them.

I realize that play-by-play guys and their sidekicks have TV monitors in front of them but I still don’t believe they can “call a pitch” before the sound of said pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt has reached their booth.

MAYBE a big looping Bert Blyleven curve a/k/a “an Uncle Charlie” versus a Hoyt Wilhelm knuckler… maybe. Or a knuckler or a change-up versus Nolan Ryan’s high heat… maybe.

Now days they want us to believe they can immediately detect “a two-seamer” versus “a cutter” versus “a backdoor slider”… from “a football field away”. Hogwash!

Is there any difference between “a cutter”… “a two-seamer”… and “a nickel defense”?  Was there a difference between Milli and Vanilli?  Are you sure?

Does it matter if they are “just guessing”? Not to me. Whether the batter hit it or what the ump called it is all that matters.

That said. Proclaiming “Mariano Rivera just threw a slider” is about as risky as saying “CNN just lied”. In his last ten years, Mariano only threw sliders. CNN is just as predictable these days.

“They” have to say something. If they are not pretending to “call pitches” they might wander aimlessly into remarking on the pulchritude of female fans ala Brent Musberger.

That leads immediately to sexual harassment charges and/or an Andy Warhol 15-minutes of fame for a skanky Florida State skank or an Alabama QB’s girlfriend.

No one has yet filed suit over confusing a “cutter” with a “two seamer”. But don’t bet it won’t happen someday.

I once had the honor of sitting with the legendary Clyde King as he scouted the KC Royals for his Yankees back in 1977. He was watching something about ten levels Clyde Kingdeeper than I was.

Clyde could predict pitches by how the pitcher’s forearm was turned as he held the ball in his glove… or how the catcher was positioned.  At least he said he could. ???

I have to fight hard to avoid becoming terminally jaded and cynical in these perilous times.  Truth in 2017 is whatever one wants it to be.

If I can’t believe Clyde King, I can’t believe anybody. Clyde King was Top Three “Finest Men in The History of Mankind”.  Clyde King passed away seven years ago.    Quite possibly that leaves nobody to believe since I don’t know the other two.

Did Cy Young throw “a two-seamer”? Cy Young pitched in 906 games over 22 yrs. He won 511 of them but… he never won “a Cy Young Award”.

baseball

MORE BL on Baseball – LINK

MORE BobLeeSays on Everything Else – LINK

BobLee

30
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
BobLeeDougHarper CooperCuzzin.BobbyCNR Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Harper Cooper
Guest
Harper Cooper

Remember Joe Garagiola? From the press box he called some pitches a radio ball. ” You could hear’em, but you couldn’t see’em”. That’s true for a catcher. Firsthand knowledge.

Cuzzin.Bobby
Guest
Cuzzin.Bobby

You did a great paragraph about Clyde. I believe what you said. He was also my hero, and probably one of the best friends I ever had. I understand Norma is still well at 93+/minus. Cuz

CNR
Guest
CNR

Much wisdom in this column. Present day announcers are fooling fools. I recall a few years ago when we could no longer listen to “Red” Barber, Ernie Harwell, Waite Hoyt, Mel Allen, et al, we still had Vinnie. Vinnie was a protege of Barber’s. . You have hit the target regarding the SABRmaniacs. I joined SABR early as I firmly believed as a youngster that bases on balls should be part of batting stix. When they began to take themselves too seriously early and began “to eat the bones” I resigned. . Mr. Branch Rickey taught me ninety-five percent of… Read more »

BobH
Guest
BobH

Dammit, Bob!

You’ve got me reading the sports page again after not having done so for more than 50 years. I stopped when athletics starting making more money in a season than the best neurosurgeon did in a lifetime. Now I have to check how the Cards did yesterday and how many games out they are (5-1/2 according to my local birdcage liner today).

As for counting seams, I can do it without ever going to a game: There’s always 2 of ’em,

Mayberry Jim
Guest
Mayberry Jim

It just does not seem right to me that an ugly word like “pulchritude ” would mean “beauty”, but then I had a really low verbal score so what do I know?

Former96heel
Guest
Former96heel

21st Century theater, right? One of my grandfathers had worked on the radio in one of the Tri-cities in TN when he was younger. To his dying day, he could thump a wallet on a table to make the sound of a pitch hitting the mitt. All he got over the cable was the batter by batter results, the rest was for him to make up and fill in…and fit all the ads in as well. If you had a long pause between transmissions, he may put in a series of foul balls or a manager conference on the mound.… Read more »

WolfPack00
Guest
WolfPack00

It wasn’t Spud Webb who could take a quarter of the top of a backboard and leave change. He was way too short but he could dunk at 5′-7″.

It was David Thompson. And I saw him do it!

myowngrandpaw
Guest
myowngrandpaw

Is that the “Mad Hungarian’s” normal look? Still looks mad. . Clint Eastwood movie ahead of you. “Trouble with the Curve”. . It does not surprise me they can tell. With video, these announcers can tell how many times a pitcher will tug on the bill of his hat each inning. How many times a batter will re-velcro their batting gloves between each pitch. . What else do these announcers have to do as they travel calling games? . Same with golf. Thursday thru Sunday…golf golf golf. . I liked sports so much better when things weren’t so micro analyzed.… Read more »